Alex Gross

Alex Gross

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Alex's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Snowboarding
Biking
Skiing

Alex's Bio

Grew up skiing the blue ice of vermont. Moved to Utah about 10 years ago for bigger mountains and deeper snow. Never left.

Alex Gross

Alex Gross wrote a review of on August 14, 2012

4 5

I picked up a pair of 172s to use as my "family" ski for 2011-12, and after a few days, I couldn't put them away. Here's the basics: I'm 5 foot 8 and about 175 lbs; I'm an advanced/expert skier in all conditions; wasatch back local who skis PC, DV, Alta, Snowbird.

Over the past few years, I kept getting wider skis with more rocker. But this past year, I decided to make a move to something a little bit more traditional for resort days with my family. I kicked on the prophet 98s and they quickly became one of my favorite skis of all time. They are quick and easy on the groomers, can handle the occasional ice that we get (even) in utah, and do really well in most deep powder conditions. For the most part, I just clicked in and didn't think about them much. I just charged around and had fun. The only beef that I had is that on steeper and deeper days, they couldn't quite float as much as I like. Maybe it wouldn't be the case if I went with the 179s instead of the 172s.

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Alex Gross

Alex Gross wrote a review of on July 19, 2011

5 5

I picked up a new Stohlquist Wedge-e for competitive laser racing. Its a life jacket and I haven't needed it to save me from drowning, so I can't speculate on how it performs in its primary function. Here's what I can tell you (warning: nautical lingo ahead).

Lots of room for arm motion. I never catch the back of the PFD on my boom blocks when tacking and gybing. Rides a little bit high on my torso, and allows for good flexibility as I reach in to adjust control lines while straight legging in big breeze. Torso straps allow for fine tuning fit and feel. Mesh pocket is good for storing a rigging knife and some electrical tape to use in minor repairs on the water.

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Alex Gross

Alex Gross wrote a review of on June 6, 2011

5 5

Classic, lightweight, packable, efficient. Not a lot of features on this jacket, but it is a classic layering piece that fits well under a shell, or it can be rocked on its own as an outer layer if there is no precipitation. Two side pockets are great for keeping your free hand warm as you swap the beverage back and forth. The small inner pocket is great for keeping essential items that you don't want to lose. I'm 5' 8"/170 lbs and the medium fits perfectly.

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Alex Gross

Alex Gross wrote a review of on March 17, 2011

4 5

Size/Fit: I'm 5'8" and 170 lbs. The medium is perfect for me, with enough room for some serious layering, but its not baggy at all. The waist is cut below the hips on me, but it doesn't hang down too low.

What's awesome: The Pro shell is bomber! Even in the wettest, snowiest conditions I haven't had any concerns about water seeping in. Maybe I sweat a lot, but I don't think that this jacket breathes great, but it does breathe enough. Pockets are all well positioned and I like the smaller inside pocket that is perfect for a pocketknife. All of the zippers work well and seem to be waterproof. The pit zips are easily reached and help vent on warm days or when skinning up the hill. The hood fits over my medium helmet and adjusts nicely to be snug on the days when I don't wear my helmet.

What I don't like: the see through window sleeve pocket isn't great. The season pass scanner can't scan through it, so you can't keep a pass in there. And the stuff that I like to keep easily accessible in that pocket isn't really suitable for that location. I'm also not too fond of the collar. When I have the jacket zipped up all the way the collar catches on my helmet chin strap and makes my helmet shift when I turn my head... this is super annoying and I've never had this issue with any of my other jackets. I don't have a problem with the side zipper, but it doesn't do much for me either.

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Alex Gross

Alex Gross wrote a review of on March 17, 2011

5 5

I am a slightly wider than average men's size 8.5 foot. I sized down to the 25.5 Tecnica Agent b/c the 26.5 shell was too long for me. After the first few days, I still couldn't get the boots to fit tightly w/out having to jack them down to the point where they cut off my circulation and made my feet tingle. So, I went to Surefoot and had some custom footbeds made for them. In the end I needed some serious arch support but have had nothing but comfort and control in these boots since then.

I really like the overall performance of these boots. After a few weeks of tinkering, I dialed in the finer adjustments and have zero complaints about fit and control. I mostly ski them with a Gotama/Baron set up and the entire kit is pretty amazing.

The only challenge that I have with these is getting them on and off. My high foot arches and the sized down boots mean that I have to rake the top of my foot against the plastic upper and that just plain hurts...

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Alex Gross

Alex Gross wrote a review of on March 17, 2011

4 5

Ok here are the basics first: I'm 5'8" and 170ish lbs. I have a pair of 178's with Marker Baron bindings. I only used these for touring a few times, but put the Barons on just in case. For the most part, these skis were my primary inbounds and sidecountry set up for the season. I'm a type 3 skier and primarily ski Snowbird/Alta/Canyons in Utah.

The 2010/11 Gotamas were the first Volkls that I've ever owned. From a construction and durability standpoint, they have held up great after about 40+ days of pretty intense use. I am pretty hard on skis and my pair have a lot of minor cosmetic dings to prove it. The cores, edges and base were pretty bomber for me, and I've had no construction or quality concerns.

In deep powder, these skis are pretty amazing. The float nicely and the rocker up front does a really good job of absorbing the big rollers and scrubbing speed as you initiate your next turn. They absorb the chop and power through crud amazingly well. They are also a nice ski in slushy spring conditions. They are definitely not "groomer" skis, but on most resort groomers they perform well when they are on edge. On flat/groomed runouts they get a bit loose (especially at high speed), but they aren't unpredictable. The width underfoot and longer turning radius mean that these skis don't move from edge to edge as quickly as I'd like for some conditions, but generally that isn't a problem for the type of skiing that I do. The rockered tails sometimes threw me off and I would end up in the back seat when I first started skiing these, but after a few days, I adjusted my style and never had any more issues.

I recommend these to any advanced skiers that really like crush pow and blast through the crud.

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Alex Gross

Alex Gross wrote a review of on November 29, 2010

5 5

Nice lightweight flask for a little bit of the old "daddy juice". You're not going to be able to hold enough in this flask to get the whole camp tipsy... or even yourself, but if you just need a little sip before hopping in your tent, this thing is perfect. One recommendation for the next model: please make it so the cap is attached to the body of the flask. I dropped my cap in the snow and it took me a while to find it.

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Alex Gross

Alex Gross wrote a review of on November 29, 2010

4 5

I have many pairs of these socks and they have performed really well for me. I use them with a pair of Lowa Banff hiking boots and the socks are just long enough to be about 2 inches above the boot cuff. These socks keep my feet warm whether they are wet or dry, and they don't smell too bad after a few days on the trail. I bring two pairs and alternate each day wearing one pair and rinsing the other pair in a stream or lake.

They would get 5 stars, except I've found that they can fatigue and tear in the seam area on the heel that is just below the goat logo. The seem holds the two different thickness panels together and it can separate when you pull the sock on your foot.

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Alex Gross

Alex Gross wrote a review of on February 12, 2010

4 5

I've been using the footprint with this tent for over 4 years. It has saved the floor of my tent from a lot of wear and tear that it would have received from some harsh camping environments. Its light and packs up very small. Its worth the 30 bucks you spend on it to avoid stabbing rocks and cactus needles through your tent floor.

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Alex Gross

Alex Gross wrote a review of on February 12, 2010

4 5

I've been using this tent for over four years for most of my 3 season backpacking and car camping needs. I've probably put about 100 or so nights on this tent, but it could be more at this point. With general maintenance and care it has held up extremely well. I typically take good care of my gear and wash/repair my tents as needed. I've used it in high alpine rain/sleet storms with zero leaking and relatively low internal condensation. It has also served me well in the harsh deserts of Southern Utah.

I have the additional footprint and use it frequently to save the floor from extra abuse. The main body is very light and ventilates well. The rainfly seems a tad heavy, but it has always been effective and can be easily taught to keep it from touching the main tent. Over the years I've broken two poles and both times I had them fixed at a local camping supply shop. The only thing that I don't like is that this tent only has one door, but I'm willing to sacrifice the accessibility to save some weight. The external clips make it easy and quick to set the tent up by myself, but sometimes I think that the external clip system makes it a little less stable in high winds.

The worst experience that I ever had with this tent occurred when I spent 9+ hours in it with two dogs during a driving rainstorm. We stayed dry, but it was less than pleasant...

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Alex Gross

Alex Gross wrote a review of on November 11, 2009

4 5

I use this pack a lot on sidecountry (slackcountry) days when I know that I'm not going to be venturing too far from the comforts of my home resort in Utah. I holds my avy gear (shovel, probe, small 1st aid kit), an extra layer, some snacks and a 100 oz hydration bladder easily. It has decent adjustments and a good waist belt, so it doesn't bounce around on descents. I have only used the diagonal ski carry straps once but they worked great. I've also used it to carry a snowboard when hiking and it does an ok job, but the "strap on" process isn't the best in my opinion. Overall though, I really like its small size and convenience when short touring.

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Alex Gross

Alex Gross wrote a review of on November 11, 2009

4 5

I bought a pair of these to bring with me on a canyoneering trip in southern utah. I wore them for about an hour before the trip so they didn't have any break in time. The trip consisted of a 15 mile hiking/wading trip through Muddy Creek in the San Rafael Swell. Conditions ranged from rocky and dry trails to chest deep wading through muddy/sandy river bed. I picked these hikers because they are relatively light, have a sturdy tread patten, and they looked like they would do well in submerged conditions. During the wading sections in the canyon narrows, I had to stop every mile or two to empty out the sand and gravel from the insoles... but that was expected. They have good traction and support and I didn't have any blister or comfort problems during the hike. The laces come untied a lot, so you have to double your knots to keep them tied securely. After a rough 15 miles in varied terrain and conditions my ankles were sore from lack of support but otherwise I had no foot or leg problems.

Since that hike, I've used them mostly for walking around town and a few short day hikes. I think that they hold up very well for the price and I plan to wear them until they fall apart some day.

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Alex Gross

Alex Gross wrote a review of on September 21, 2009

4 5

Ok, after trashing my last "big" tent at Burning Man in 2008, I needed a new one for this year. Our requirements were simple: a 6 - 8 person tent, had to be about 6 feet tall, room for a double size air mattress, room for two adults to store lots of clothes and stuff, good in the wind, walls that reasonably sealed out dust, strong enough to survive a black rock desert wind/dust storm, not too expensive.

Here's how the BA flying diamond did: could easily accommodates 8 adults, I'm 5 feet 8 inches tall and had some headroom in the middle of the tent, easily handled our space requirements, held up well in winds up to about 35 mph (never got windier than that), sealed out the dust.

Ok, it met the basic requirements... here's the rest of the details. This is not a true "four season" tent. The top of the main body is mesh/screen and does not completely seal out the elements. The rainfly provides good protection, but the main body of the tent does not completely seal off. The vestibule is huge and provides a 6 foot x 4 foot floorspace of additional usable space. The tent is well made and doesn't take too long to set up. Overall, it survived 6 days in one of the harshest desert environments and is ready for its next trip.

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Alex Gross

Alex Gross wrote a review of on August 12, 2009

5 5

I've been wearing this jacket regularly since the mid spring and so far, I love it. The sizing is typical for the backcountry.com branded apparel. Its a bit long and skinny. I'm 5' 8" and about 165 - 170 lbs and I had to get a large to properly fit around my torso with some room for a layer or two underneath (I don't like tight, form-fitting jackets). This means that its a tiny bit long on my torso and arms, but not annoyingly so.

What I'm most impressed by with this jacket is that its warm, breathable and more waterproof than I anticipated. I wore it during the downpours at the 2009 Desert Rocks Music Festival in Moab (SERIOUS Effing rain with flash floods), and it was more waterproof than my Marmot Precip. The welded seems didn't allow any water in, and the softshell held back the rain with only minimal seep-through. The fuzzy insides kept me warmer than if I was just wearing a rain shell too. I practically lived in this jacket for four days and was impressed. Over time, as with all softshells, I'm sure that the water proofness will fade a bit, but so far I'm impressed.

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Alex Gross

Alex Gross wrote a review of on August 12, 2009

4 5

These are my third pair of prana shorts that I've picked up in the past year. They're moderately lightweight and very comfortable. They hold up well during hikes and in the office. My only complaint is that these shorts only have four pockets: two front and two back.

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Alex Gross

Alex Gross wrote a review of on August 10, 2009

4 5

I usually wear flip flops, but picked up a pair of Chacos for more intensive sandal adventures. These have some super thick and burly soles. I've worn them around lakes and rivers/streams and also on a lot of day hikes in some rougher terrain. The big beefy soles are pretty much indestructable and grip really well to rocks, sand, dust, dirt, slick rock and slimy rocks. The burliness is a bit heavy, but worth it if you need to stomp around some rough terrain.

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